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Arnica is a flowering herb native to cold, rocky regions like Siberia and Eastern Europe. It’s sometimes called “the mountain daisy” because the yellow-orange blooms resemble common daisies. For centuries, arnica has been used as a homeopathic treatment for skin, scalp, and hair conditions.

The distilled extract of arnica is toxic to ingest, but when arnica is diluted or applied topically, it may help with a range of health conditions. Most of what we know about how arnica oil heals and helps your hair look shiny is anecdotal. Keep reading to find out what we know about using arnica oil for hair.

Arnica has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Some research has confirmed that arnica can lower pain caused by inflammation and decrease the healing time for inflamed bruising on your skin.

Since arnica oil can reduce inflammation, while at the same time clearing away built-up oils and killing bacteria on the scalp, many believe it can help treat hair and scalp conditions.

However, most of what we know about how this works and whether it’s effective is anecdotal.

Arnica oil for hair loss

The strands of hair that you can see on your head are mostly collections of dead cells. You can extend the life of your hair by strengthening the proteins in your hair strands, as well as improving the health of the hair follicle itself.

Topical arnica oil application may clear sebum oil and other debris on your scalp that can block hair follicles. It may also reduce inflammation that causes itching and irritation and leads to hair loss.

More research is needed to study these potential benefits.

Dandruff treatment

Arnica oil is a popular holistic treatment for dandruff.

Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) is caused by scalp irritation, dry skin, or a fungal infection. Applying arnica oil may improve your scalp’s texture and relieve symptoms of itching and inflammation, according to anecdotal evidence.

Split ends

Those who swear by arnica oil for hair believe that arnica has the power to strengthen the hair strand from root to tip. By coating the hair strand with arnica oil, you may be able to infuse your hair strands with healthy proteins that will decrease the appearance of split ends.

However, there is little evidence for this besides anecdotal information.

Premature graying

Prematurely graying hair is difficult to prevent. The timing of your hair going gray is mostly based on genetic and environmental factors.

However, preserving the overall health of your hair and strengthening your hair follicles can extend the lifecycle of your hair strands.

By increasing the lifespan of the hair strands with arnica oil, it may be possible to fend off grays that are showing up early.

While the topical use of arnica oil is safe for most people, there are some possible side effects.

People who have a ragweed allergy may experience an allergic reaction from using arnica. Symptoms of this kind of allergy can include:

  • hives
  • itching
  • runny nose
  • inflamed sinuses
  • headache
  • difficulty breathing

If you notice any of those symptoms after applying arnica to hair or scalp, discontinue use and wash it off immediately.

When ingested, arnica can also increase your heart rate and inflate your blood pressure. You should never ingest arnica oil.

Arnica is not safe for women who are pregnant. In fact, it has been used as a homeopathic way to induce abortions. It’s also not approved for breastfeeding mothers and even caused complications in one newborn whose mother ingested arnica.

Arnica oil can be applied topically as a treatment for hair and scalp conditions. Arnica can be used as an ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in treatments. Diffusing arnica oil isn’t effective for treating hair.

You can buy arnica oil and make your own leave-in hair treatment or hair mask, or buy products that contain the ingredient. To make your own, you’ll need to mix arnica oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil.

You can mix two to three drops of arnica oil with every 8 to 10 drops of carrier oil to create a mixture to coat your scalp. Leave this hair mask on for no more than 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with lukewarm water.

You may also want to keep some of the mixture on hand for when you style your hair. Run the oil through the full strands of your hair to repair split ends and tame flyaways.

If you’d prefer to purchase products that contain arnica oil for your hair, you’ll notice that it’s often combined with some other ingredients. Calendula, shea butter, grapeseed oil, sage, and rosemary are all natural ingredients that also claim to support a healthy scalp and hair.

You can purchase arnica oil most health food stores, as well as some grocery stores. Products containing arnica oil, such as dandruff shampoos and cream rinses, can be found at some beauty supply stores and online.

Remember that the statements about arnica’s efficacy have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and your success with this ingredient may vary.

If you’re interested in trying arnica oil for your hair, check out these products online.

If you’re interested in trying essential oils for hair, there are other types of oils with more clinical research to support their use. Other essential oils to use for healthy, shiny hair include:

Arnica oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties lead some people to believe it is effective as a treatment for dandruff and a way to make your hair look and feel healthier. There isn’t much research to support these claims.

Arnica oil is a safe ingredient for most people, but you should test it on your scalp before applying it to your entire head. Never ingest arnica oil.